The compound of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is not only Christianity’s holiest site it is also one of the most fascinating buildings in the world. Its nucleus goes back to the 4th century A.D.—how many 4th century buildings are still in existence and in use?—and its various components represent almost every period during the last 16 centuries.a
Archaeologists have been excavating in Jerusalem for over a century, but only recently have they been allowed to dig in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In 1960 the three principal Communities that share the compound—the Latin Catholics, the Greek Orthodox and the Armenian Orthodox—agreed not only on a plan of extensive restoration, but also on a program of archaeological investigation and excavation. Both the restoration work and the archaeological work are still in progress.